Dietz And Watson Blaze, Now Eleven-Alarm Fire - KMSP-TV

Dietz And Watson Blaze, Now Eleven-Alarm Fire

Posted: Updated:
DELANCO, N.J. -

According to Burlington County Fire Radio, there is an eleven-alarm fire at a warehouse in Delanco, NJ. Dispatchers say that the fire is not under control, and will not be "for a long, long time."

More than 200 firefighters from nearly 40 stations are currently on the 1000 block of Coopertown Road. Dietz and Watson, the warehouse on fire, has been burning since early afternoon. The warehouse, which houses the cold storage/distribution facility of Delanco's largest employer, tweeted just after the fire started that all its employees were safe. Officials say that two officers sustained minor injuries while responding to the fire.

FOX 29's Omari Fleming was on scene earlier and reported that the fire kept on flaring up around the insulation in the roof area. While he was there, one of the side walls collapsed. The fire officials on scene are in the process of bringing in an expert to figure out how to put out this fire. They say this is one of the toughest fires ever fought.

"We knock it down, and it flares backup because it's between the girder, the trusses and between the roof. So foam insulation that they have in there," says Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt.

Crews from the area were first called in earlier this afternoon to help put down the flames. Their efforts to fight the fire were hindered when the Dietz and Watson's water pump went down. It forced them to pull in the water from the Rancocas Creek a three-quarters of a mile away. Tanker trucks from around Burlington to Gloucester to Camden Counties also ran water shuttles.

Another big factor that hindered firefighting efforts were the energized solar panels on the roof. Because of solar panels on the roof and all of the water showered on the fire, Fire Chief Holt didn't send his men in the building or on the roof for fear of building collapse.

"Normal roof, we would be able to get on there, trench it, cut it off and stop the at a certain point. With the power sitting on top of that roof, that building is the not worth one of my guys lives," says Chief Holt. "The whole top of the have roof has solar panels on it. We cannot get on it because they are energized."

The neighbor, Paul May, hopes the flames don't spread and take out his Christmas tree farm.

"I have good neighbors here. Sorry to see it happen. I'm just glad it didn't start my trees on fire. If it was a dryer year, I have had brush fires here and I'm really concerned," says May.

No word yet on what caused the fire. Representatives from New Jersey American Water are urging, this evening, that residents in Delanco, Edgewater Park, and Beverly conserve water because so much water has been used to battle this fire. They say that the water pressure may be low tonight.

"Just devastating to see knowing how many people that work there how large of a facility it is, how important they are to the town," says David Cohen, a resident of Delanco.

"They employ about 250-300 people. This is a travesty for us and the economy. We can only hope that it can be rebuilt and that the people will get their jobs back," says Kate Fitzpatrick, the mayor of Delanco.

As walls collapsed around the warehouse, the longtime CEO of one of Philadelphia's most well-known companies said that Dietz and Watson, one of the country's largest meat processors, will rebuild.

"No employees were injured no employees were in the building and that's the only thing that's important," says Louis Eni.

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